How to boost your mental health during a Pandemic: ‘Be grateful for the small things in life’ – Does this actually make us happier?

How to boost your mental health during a Pandemic: ‘Be grateful for the small things in life’ – Does this actually make us happier?

The uncontrollable spread of Covid-19 has taken over the world, causing profound feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Frustrated, fearful, and fed-up – The three F’s that summarize how most of us feel after the year 2020. In challenging times like these, it can be helpful to put in some extra effort into maintaining our well-being. 

Positive psychologists substantiate gratitude as a significant contributor to happiness. The most commonly researched gratitude intervention is the so-called ‘Gratitude List’. 

But does making endless lists of minor things actually make us feel better? Cunha et al. (2019) attempt to provide an answer, by investigating the impact of this intervention on well-being and mental health. 

In their study, participants were asked to reflect on daily events for 14 days. 410 responses of participants were analyzed for changes in affect, happiness, depression, and life satisfaction. The intervention condition required the documentation of five things participants felt grateful for, whereas the hassle condition asked participants to note five irritating events they have encountered in the past day. The control condition consisted of writing down five events of their day, that have generally been perceived as affecting the participant in any way.  

The study results demonstrate significant increases in positive affect, subjective happiness, and life satisfaction for the gratitude intervention, in comparison to the other conditions. Thereby, offering an effective yet simple way to boost one’s well-being and mental health. 

So, a quick way to make you feel better during this never-ending pandemic? Actively contemplate the many positive experiences life has to offer, regardless of how minor they may seem to you.  

Blog writer: Ivana Peiris

Reference:

Cunha, L. F., Pellanda, L. C., & Reppold, C. T. (2019). Positive psychology and gratitude interventions: A randomized clinical trial. Frontiers in psychology10, 584.

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